Chapter One: Is This the Beginning of a Scam?
The world is full of light, and I don’t mean that figuratively; it’s literally glowing. Sometimes this light eclipses even the sun’s rays. It’s so dazzling. I’ll bet someday I’m going to end up blind!
My name is Lina Randall, and I’m the daughter of a count. I’m a terribly ordinary girl with black hair and black eyes, which I inherited from my late great-grandmother.
This spring, I turned seventeen without making my debut at a social party. Why not, you ask? Because, despite being aristocrats, my family is actually quite poor. Though our pedigree is remarkable, it doesn’t fill my empty stomach.
I scrape by every day with the motto, “Those who don’t work, don’t eat.”
Far from obsessing about the tailoring of their daughter’s dress, my family doesn’t even have a carriage to hop in and take to an evening gala. Actually, we don’t have a horse either. We do have goats and chickens, though.
The swaying oranges in the trees look delicious today.
“Big Sis, Father’s calling. As uncommon as it sounds, he’s waiting in the study.”
That’s my brother, Al, he’s two years younger than me.
My younger brother’s hair is sweet maroon, and his eyes are dark brown. Today he’s wearing a nice colored shirt and navy blue trousers; it’s a great combo, and it makes the stains less noticeable.
“Okay. Well then, Al, take over the weeding for a bit.”
“But I was just taking a break from clearing the weeds out in the field. Damn!”
Despite his frustration, Al immediately gets to pulling the hated weeds around him.
“Okay, I’m going then.”
So replied Al without raising his head, as he was now fully engrossed in his quest to clear every last weed.
I dusted off my skirt and hurried from the vegetable patch that had once been a garden to the study where my father was waiting.
I wondered when the last time was that I had stepped into that study.
On the way, I passed a well-dressed man who looked like a merchant. Stale and muddy.
“Well, well, if it isn’t a fair lady! Are you the daughter? I’m glad to find you so healthy. Your old-fashioned look is very charming! Well then, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.”
After looking at me from head to toe, rudeness worthy of his muddy aura, the man left.
My sun-kissed skin from working outside is a medal of honor! And so are my rough hands and faded outdated clothes!
I knock on the door of the study and rush in without waiting for a reply.
“Father! That guy just now was totally inconsiderate!”
“Ahh, is that so? But his proposal was so interesting.”
My carefree father is wearing yellowish light-green colors that are calming to look at—like gentle sunlight, always a refreshing look. Not!
“He was all muddy! And what kind of proposal do you mean? I hope you didn’t just accept on the spot!”
Although Dad’s taken aback under the force of my insistent questioning, his usual lighthearted attitude and facial expression remain unchanged. He vigorously waves a hand in the air as if to assert his innocence.
“I’ve done no such thing. I will not negotiate or make a contract without consulting my dear Lina! I swore I wouldn’t do that, didn’t I?”
I feel relieved.
“It was an investment proposal, by the way. That’s a no-go… Right?”
“Total. No. Go!”
Such a stubborn father! He’s certainly a person who’s easy to love, but he’s also too easy of a mark.
My family was never very wealthy in the first place; we rule over a remote area with no unique regional goods. The only thing we really have is agriculture, so at least we’ve always been self-sufficient. At harvest time, not only my father, who is the lord, but also my mother, me, my younger brother, and the whole family helps out.
It’s bereft of luxury, but I really like this kind of life. I have a good family, I’ve enjoyed a good connection with our subjects, and I always have a smile on my face.
The Randall territory is supposed to be an area relatively blessed with wonderful weather, but this year it was hit by a cold spell caused by strange, unseasonable weather, and to top it off, a drought. We’ve incurred terrible damage.
Our territory, which has no means of earning currency other than agriculture, is having trouble just making a living.
For the time being, we’ve sold off the gold items in the hall, borrowed money from acquaintances, and managed to survive the winter without suffering any deaths.
Spring comes after winter, so we need only to endure and then crawl up from under this most unfortunate turn of events. So, we thought, and my entire family united and worked as a whole.
However, winter is not over, and my father has become an easy mark.
First, to a wealthy person who brought investment proposals. Next, to a merchant who came offering seemingly lucrative business deals. And finally, to a pitiful young man wrapped in unfortunate circumstances.
I love my dad. I really, really love him. But I can only sigh. If my father were just a little more level headed…
It’s also true that I don’t want to see my gentle, charmingly quirky father turn into a person who no longer believes in people. So, what should I do? I have no choice but to play this role in my father’s stead and be the one suspicious of other people’s motives.
Since then, I’ve become good at observing various things. Originally, I had a slight case of myopia, but since I couldn’t afford to buy glasses, I developed a habit of staring at something so intensely that it was almost as if my eyes were drilling holes with their gaze. I began to notice changes—a person’s facial expression, tone of voice, breath (quickening and deepening), and other more casual signs no one thinks much about.
And then there was a more significant change. I started to notice the flow of energy surrounding people, which is to say, their aura became visible. But, as if to compensate for this newfound ability, my myopia got worse.
When you have myopia, you can’t distinguish the faces of people you interact with at a distance. Still, the aura speaks volumes—it reveals much more than a person’s face—and you can instantly spot bad feelings and personalities! It’s like having a much more reliable pair of eyes if you ask me.
Only my family knows I have this ability. If my secret gets out, it will be less effective. And I don’t want anyone to try to take advantage of my ability.
Anyway, thanks to this ability, I’m now a special adviser to my dad, and I can really throw my weight around.
“Dad, is that all you wanted to tell me? Because I still need to finish weeding the vegetable garden.”
“No, not quite. I haven’t told you the most important thing. Here, take a look!”
My father hurriedly took a letter from the drawer and placed it on the desk.
“Is this addressed…to me?”
How strange. I’d never sent nor received a letter in my seventeen years of life.
“It’s from the king…”
This has got to be a new kind of scam or something.
Translator: Robert F. (All my friends freelance, maybe this is God telling me something…hahaha)